“The Henley Festival appears to have blocked the Thames towpath, a popular national trail, without lawful authority” declares the Open Spaces Societyâ€™s local activist David Parry who visited the site yesterday and today (3 and 4 July).
“The festival has consent to close the path during the performances, starting at 5.45 pm on Wednesday 5 July. It does not have consent to close the path before that” says David speaking from the OSS nearby office in Henley.
“Indeed, earlier this year, it did apply to close the route for an unprecedented seven days but it withdrew that application after receiving a barrage of objections. Now, it has pigheadedly decided to close the path anyway, and is trying to get away with it.”
“There is a wire fence across the route and walkers are required to deviate from the river and around the back of the festival enclosures” David explains.
“This is unpleasant and annoying for the many walkers of this prestigious, long-distance path, which is especially enjoyed by those with disabilities because it is flat and smooth.”
The OSS has called on Wokingham District Council, the highway authority, to investigate the matter and to require the festival to reopen the route until the official closure starts at 5.45 pm on Wednesday.